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The Irish Pharmacy Union
Do you have questions about your child’s vaccinations? – Talk to your Pharmacist
9 September 2019: The Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) has urged people to talk to their pharmacist if they have any questions about their child’s vaccination schedule. Vaccination is a simple, safe and effective way to protect your child against certain diseases. Ensuring your child is up to date with their vaccinations is important for two reasons – firstly, to protect your child from illness and, secondly, to protect the rest of the community.
IPU Executive Committee member and community pharmacist Ann Marie Horan said, “There is a lot of misinformation about vaccines, and this misinformation stokes unnecessary fears. Your local pharmacist should be a key point of contact if you have any concerns on this, or any other health issue. We are healthcare professionals and medicine experts, working in the heart of your local community. Talk to us, and we will be happy to chat through any concerns you have.”
In Ireland, all the recommended vaccinations for children are free and it takes five GP visits to be fully vaccinated. These visits should happen between two and thirteen months of age. Vaccines are given at an early age because young babies are most vulnerable to these diseases and need to be protected as early as possible.
Ms Horan continued, “Measles used to kill thousands of people in Europe and the United States every year. In the 1940s and 1950s, tens of thousands of children were killed and disabled by polio.
As recently as the mid-1980s, 100 children a year in Ireland suffered from meningitis and other serious complications as a result of Hib infection. These diseases have not changed. We just don’t see them as often anymore because of vaccines.
“It is also important to remember that children who can’t be vaccinated for health reasons, for example because they are undergoing chemotherapy, rely on those around them being vaccinated to prevent the spread of diseases such as measles. A rate of 95% vaccine uptake is ideally required for herd immunity. There are heart-breaking stories, particularly of children with cancer, catching measles because they were exposed to an unvaccinated measles carrier.
“It is understandable that when people read negative comments about vaccines, they will have questions. What we are asking people to do is to bring those questions to their pharmacist, who is a highly trained medical professional. Get the facts – talk to your pharmacist.”
For further information
This information initiative is being undertaken as part of a wider vaccination awareness campaign being undertaken by the IPU. We are encouraging people to get the facts and talk to their pharmacist about other vaccines too, including HPV, flu and pneumococcal vaccines.